Ar­ti­cle on cli­mate change ‘in­ac­cu­rate’

The Straits Times - - WORLD -

NEW YORK A self-polic­ing group within the Bri­tish news in­dus­try has forced The Mail on Sun­day tabloid to ac­knowl­edge that an ar­ti­cle it pub­lished, as­sert­ing that cli­mate re­searchers i n the United States had ma­nip­u­lated data, was in­ac­cu­rate and mis­lead­ing.

A state­ment say­ing the news or­gan­i­sa­tion “failed to take care over the ac­cu­racy of the ar­ti­cle” was posted on The Mail on Sun­day’s web­site early yes­ter­day and would ap­pear in the print edi­tion.

Pub­li­ca­tion of the state­ment was re­quired af­ter the self-reg­u­lat­ing group, the In­de­pen­dent Press Stan­dards Or­gan­i­sa­tion, ruled in favour of a com­plaint that the ar­ti­cle, which was pub­lished on Feb 5, had mis­rep­re­sented the com­ments of a for­mer sci­en­tist with the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NOAA) about a 2015 cli­mate change pa­per by lead­ing NOAA cli- mate re­searcher Thomas Karl and others. The Mail on Sun­day, the state­ment said, also failed to cor­rect “sig­nif­i­cantly mis­lead­ing state­ments” in the ar­ti­cle, which was writ­ten by Mr David Rose and was based on the claims of for­mer NOAA sci­en­tist John Bates.

The man who brought the com­plaint against The Mail on Sun­day, Mr Bob Ward, pol­icy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor at the Gran­tham Re­search In­sti­tute on Cli­mate Change and the En­vi­ron­ment at the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics, said he had im­me­di­ate con­cerns about the ar­ti­cle when he read it.

“It was fairly ob­vi­ous right from the start it was bound to be sus­pi­cious be­cause David Rose has a long his­tory of pro­mot­ing cli­mate change de­nial,” Mr Ward said.

“It was grossly overblown,” he added, “and that was clearly what he was try­ing to do.”

Ef­forts to reach Mr Rose were not suc­cess­ful.

The Mail on Sun­day man­ag­ing ed­i­tor John Welling­ton con­firmed in an e-mail that the news or­gan­i­sa­tion was go­ing to post what he re­ferred to as an ad­ju­di­ca­tion. Mr Rose’s ar­ti­cle was pub­lished with the print head­line “Ex­posed: How world lead­ers were duped over global warm­ing” and a sim­i­lar head­line on­line.

It de­tailed as­ser­tions by Dr Bates about tem­per­a­ture data that had been used in the 2015 pa­per, which pro­vided ev­i­dence against the idea that global warm­ing had slowed in the first decade of this cen­tury.

In The Mail on Sun­day’s ar­ti­cle, Mr Rose de­scribed Dr Bates as a “high-level whistle­blower” and said the lat­ter had told him that NOAA had “breached its own rules on sci­en­tific in­tegrity” by us­ing what was de­scribed as “un­ver­i­fied” data for the study.

The ar­ti­cle also as­serted that the study was rushed into print in June 2015 to have “max­i­mum pos­si­ble im­pact on world lead­ers” at the Paris cli­mate talks later that year.

Most of the ar­ti­cle’s as­ser­tions were re­jected by sci­en­tists in the days af­ter it was pub­lished.

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